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Painting: Etch or Epoxy Primer?


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So we are stripping my wifes SIII and because of the patchwork of badly applied paint by POs have ended up taking it back to bare Aluminium ( and filler!) for most of it. 

The other day I saw a post on Facebook talking about undercoats. In the thread a number of people said that an Epoxy primer was better than an Etch one - adheres better to the aluminium and provides a better base for the top coat. In our case the top coat will be Paintmans synthetic coach enamel which we have already bought.

I am quite good at stripping, I'm told! 😉, but know next to nothing about applying paint. What are others opinions, Epoxy or Etch and why?

many thanks,



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I'm no expert but I'm getting ready to paint mine as well. The biggest thing I understood is etch is meant to go on bare metal while epoxy will stick to just about anything. I bought a direct to metal primer sealer/surfacer tinted black for a dark topcoat designed for both aluminum and steel. I was a little worried how the etch might react to all the different surfaces (steel, aluminum, body filler, etc). The other thing I read was important was to try to use the same brand from start to finish. The only things I know for sure is make sure it's clean and this debate can go on for years lol.


Good luck,


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I think Paintman paint is classed as synthetic - in which case I've been regularly told that synthetic primer doesn't need an etch.  I have painted alloy this way once - with no problems - and don't think it peeled the first time it rained but don't know what happened long term.

I use Super*Etch which seems happy on alloy, steel and filler and has the advantage of being a filler as well which means that I can build up coats if necessary at the same time as I etch.

(Convenient data:)  https://www.express-paints.co.uk/upoxy-super-etch-primer-kit-2-0l/

You do need protection to use it.




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TBH I'd go with whatever the paintman chap recommends to go with the paint. Tell him what you've got and what you're applying it over and he'll know what you need to do.

Prep is everything - multiple wipe-downs with clean rags & suitable solvent/cleaner after you've stripped/sanded.

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Always used etch primer on alloy and results have been successful, even after extended exposure to UK weather. I painted my IIA in 1985 and not had any problems since with paint flaking off the alloy base. High build primer has adhered well to the etch. The red colour coat has been over painted a few years back and could probably do with a refresh.

No experience with epoxy primer on alloy, so can't comment. As highlighted above, quality of preparation is the key.

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